SLIPPERY SOLUTION TO CROWD CONTROL

There's a mountainous policing job ahead in Iraq for the U.S. military. A few projects in the Pentagon's research pipeline could have helped in that effort -- but they're not quite ready for keeping order on the streets of Baghdad.The mobility denial system (MDS) is a slippery gel that makes it pretty much impossible for vehicles or people to move on concrete, asphalt, or wood without falling down. MDS could have been most useful in, say, keeping a crowd of looters from making too much mischief in Basra.But Defense Department researchers are having a tough time getting the system small enough for a single person to carry. It should be ready within a year, promises Captain Sean Turner, spokesman for the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in Quantico, VA.The slippery stuff replaces a sticky foam that glues rabble-rousers in place (great pic here). The foam looked promising at first, but wound up with major problems of its own. First, the foam tended to clog up in the tubes that were supposed to shoot it out. Second, it took too long to harden, so people could escape before they were slimed to the ground.Third -- and most importantly -- if the sticky foam got in someone's face, and it wasn't wiped off in time, it could suffocate the person. Try explaining that to Al Jazeera.More to come

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